Health & WellnessS


Mental Exercise Nearly Halves Risk of Dementia

Staying mentally and physically active throughout life is the best way to keep the mind sharp and reduce the risks of developing dementia, two recent studies show.

One large group study found that staying mentally active reduces the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia by nearly half by building and maintaining a reserve of stimulation.

Comment: Well, that leaves out Dubya...

Evil Rays

Chronic Pain Shrinks People's Brains

Pain causes an unexpected brain drain, according to a new study in which the brains of people with chronic backaches were up to 11 percent smaller than those of non-sufferers.

People afflicted with other long-term pain and stress might face similar brain shrinkage, said study leader A. Vania Apkarian of Northwestern University.

The results suggest those with constant pain lose gray matter equal to an oversized pea for each year of pain. Gray matter is an outer layer of the brain rich in nerve cells and crucial to information and memory processing.


Hormone Transforms Fat Cells from Foes to Friends, Rat Study Suggests

Set against the backdrop of an increasingly overweight population, the 1994 discovery of the fat-regulating protein leptin was widely heralded as a boon for obesity research. The hormone continues to be a focus of investigation. Findings published online this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicate that increasing leptin levels in the body can fundamentally change the nature of fat cells—from idle storage containers to fat-burning machines.


Study Strengthens Link between Virus and Weight Gain

New study results bolster the controversial hypothesis that certain cases of obesity are contagious. Over the last 20 years, some research has suggested that certain strains of human and avian adenoviruses--responsible for ailments ranging from the chest colds to pink eye--actually make individuals build up more fat cells. Having antibodies to one strain in particular, so-called Ad-36, proved to correlate with the heaviest obese people, and in one study, pairs of twins differed in heft depending on exposure to that virus. Now researchers have identified another strain of adenovirus that makes chickens plump.


Contagious obesity? Identifying the human adenoviruses that may make us fat

There is a lot of good advice to help us avoid becoming obese, such as "Eat less," and "Exercise." But here's a new and surprising piece of advice based on a promising area of obesity research: "Wash your hands."

There is accumulating evidence that certain viruses may cause obesity, in essence making obesity contagious, according to Leah D. Whigham, the lead researcher in a new study, "Adipogenic potential of multiple human adenoviruses in vivo and in vitro in animals," in the January issue of the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology published by the American Physiological Society.


Omega-3 Flounders as Cancer Protection

Santa Monica - Eating fish and other foods high in omega-3 fatty acids doesn't have the wondrous effect on preventing malignancies that it seems to have in warding off heart disease.

As a cancer preventive strategy, omega-3 was left high and dry, reported Catherine H. MacLean, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues at Rand Health in the Jan. 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.


New Mexico Begins Legislative Process To Ban Aspartame

Fifteen state senators sponsored a bill to rid New Mexico of what some have called "Rumsfeld's Disease."

A senate bill to rid New Mexico of what has been called “Rumsfeld's Disease” was introduced Thursday by Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, as 15 other senators from both sides of isle also signed on, supporting legislation to ban the deadly artificial sweetener, aspartame.

Linked to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for his efforts in the 1970s for putting the sweetener on the market, New Mexico is the first state to consider banning the artificial additive linked to numerous ill-health affects, including cancer.

If passed, no food containing any amount of the sweetener could be manufactured, sold or delivered in Mew Mexico, beginning July 1.

Comment: At the time of the introduction of aspartame, both Rumsfeld and doctors knew that it was poisonous, that it caused cancer and a host of other illnesses, that it damaged DNA. They decided to promote it anyway.

Only now, 30 years later, some are suggesting that this poisonous substance should not be used as a staple ingredient in many food products that humans consume, all of which makes one marvel at the 'advanced state' of human evolution, does it not?


Doctor: New lips not made for smoking

Tuscon, Arizona -- The world's first face transplant recipient is using her new lips to take up smoking again, which doctors fear could interfere with her healing and raise the risk of tissue rejection.

"It is a problem," Dr. Jean-Michel Dubernard, who led the team that performed the pioneering transplant in France on November 27, acknowledged on Wednesday.

Comment: The article's subject identifies it to be about the risks of smoking by the French face-transplant recipient. But is it really?

But note the not-so-subtle message about smokers, achieved by the transition of subjects over these three brief paragraphs:
The woman suffered a tissue-rejection episode last month but is now doing well, her doctors said. However, they said she has resumed smoking, which besides being bad for health is especially a problem after surgery because it impairs circulation to tissues and could raise the risk of rejection.

Some doctors have questioned the woman's psychological fitness for the operation because of reports that she had taken sleeping pills in a possible suicide attempt when the dog attack occurred -- an allegation Dubernard repeatedly has denied.

He said she received extensive psychiatric evaluation and counseling before the operation.
There you have it. Smoking = psychologically unfit.

Why bother with such an article? They warn every patient about this risk of smoking after surgery, don't they?

Last year, my wife was gravely warned not to smoke after removal of her impacted wisdom teeth. After all, the wounds were right inside the mouth! The doctor also warned of the high level of pain she'd likely feel during healing, and he wrote two prescriptions for pain killers (one an addictive narcotic), one of which we filled right away, fearing the worst. She not only ignored the advice not to smoke, but didn't feel any pain whatsoever throughout the healing process. She actually became worried that something was wrong because there was no pain. Obviously, we wasted the prescription, didn't fill the other one, and threw away the free samples of Vioxx that the pharmacy graciously provided us with. There's so much wrong with the whole episode that I wouldn't know where to begin...


Pete Townshend Warns IPod Users

London - Guitarist Pete Townshend has warned iPod users that they could end up with hearing problems as bad as his own if they don't turn down the volume of the music they are listening to on earphones.


Pill linked to reduction in women's sexual desire

Millions of sexually active women who rely on the contraceptive pill may be putting themselves at risk of long-term sexual dysfunction.

Scientists believe they have uncovered the mechanism that leads to mood swings, health problems and sexual difficulties among some users of the pill which persist even when they stop taking it. They say GPs should be aware of the pill's physiological effects before assuming women's sexual problems are psychological.

Comment: The title and main focus of this article emphasise that oral contraceptives may decrease sexual desire in women. Less attention is paid to the other two issues, which are obviously far more important: "mood swings" and long-term "health problems". When so little attention is paid to the very real effects of the variety of powerful drugs so many people are taking these days, it is curious that things like smoking can be so easily blamed for increased incidences of heart disease, stroke, cancer, etc.